Making mayo with a stick blender might be considered a bit of a cheat. But it does make life a whole lot easier and it also allows you to make your mayo straight in the jar, sparing the dishwasher. Making your own also allows you to have fun with the flavours. A handful of basil and a clove of garlic make this pale green mayo a perfect accompaniment to fish and a lovely addition to a tomato salad/sandwich. Besides a stick blender you will need a clean jar that can accommodate said stick blender. The jar I am using is perhaps even a little bit too large.
Cress, or micro greens if you're being fancy, are a great way to spice up a sandwich or salad. From the traditional egg and cress or my new favourite of rocket cress on a cheese sandwich, cress can pack a real punch. On top of that micro greens are terribly easy to grow. Spread them thickly on wet cotton wool, keep moist, and within a couple of days the sprouts are ready to harvest.
Ancient grains are everywhere now. There is even a shortage of spelt flour threatening the supply. Emmer, or farro, is another ancient grain that is gaining popularity. And while it is often a bit tricky to make breads with these flours because of their lower gluten content, there are many other ways to use them. Emmer's pleasant nuttiness lends itself particularly well to a savoury and sweet pancake. Though the combination of melting brie, pancake, and sweet treacle is good enough to make with any flour you have available.
Chances are that you bought some violets to have some flowers in early spring. Violets are real troopers and will still be flowering abundantly. Because by now they will have had several waves of flower, the flowers will now be completely free of pesticides, no matter where you bought them from. Which means you can eat them raw in salads, or do what I did and crystallize some for a wonderfully twee cupcake decoration.
There are two main species of violet that are suitable for this, viola odorata or viola tricolor. The odorata has the most violet flavour and the tricolor comes in most colourful variations. Crystallizing such delicate flowers is a somewhat fiddly job, but the results are worth it.
Every country that grows apples has some variety of apple pie. The French make a mean tarte tatin, the English love a good apple crumble, German speaking countries indulge in lovely strudel. So when ER suggested I bake an apple pie for my spotlight on the humble apple I decided to make a traditional Dutch apple pie. The crust is not quite short crust pastry and a simple trick keeps the bottom nice and firm. It is important to use the right apple for the pie. It needs a little tartness and it should stay firm. Jonagold, Cox Orange, Elstar and Goudrenet are the traditional options. It is easiest to bake the pie in a tin with a removable ring so you can easily remove the pie when it is done.